As Wedding Day Mangers (On the Day Coordinators) we usually start working closely with our couples about 8 weeks out from their Wedding. And whilst part of our role is prepare and distribute a detailed Wedding Day Timeline for them and the Wedding Party, Family and Vendors, very often our couples have started to think about timings prior to our first meeting. And we love that! It’s your day and considering how you want it to flow is important. But very often the timeline we see in this early stage of the process is one that doesn’t allow enough time for all of the moments that happen around the significant events of the day.

Where Things go Wrong with Timelines

If you’ve booked most of your suppliers by now, you probably know what time your Ceremony and Reception will start and finish, what time Vendors can start setting up and even what time dinner will be served. But what about how long it will take for family photos after the Ceremony and speeches during the reception?

In my experience it’s usually these ‘moments’ that derail the timing of the day rather than the significant events. And whilst no one wants their day to be run like a military exercise, if too many ‘moments’ take more time than was allowed for, other things within the day get compromised – like time on the dance floor with your Besties after all the formalities are completed. Now if you want to make sure you have time to enjoy your wedding day and you’re getting married in Australia, you can contact us so we can put together a timeline that has you moving seamlessly throughout the day, without every having to worry about the time. But to help you with your initial planning here are some mistakes we often see couples make when they start writing out a schedule for their wedding day.

Wedding Runsheet

1. Not allowing enough time to get ready

Allowing enough time for everyone in the Wedding Party to get ready is super important.  If you run significantly over at this point, there will be a snow-ball effect that carries on throughout the day and even a good Wedding Coordinator will find it hard to get things back on time for you.

To ensure you have allowed enough time for everyone to get ready you must collaborate with all of the Vendors involved in this part of the day (Hair and Makeup, Videographer, Photographer) to come up with a realistic timeframe.

Things to consider include:

  • How many people are getting ready?
  • How long Hair and Makeup will take for each person?
  • The amount of time the Photographer/Videographer needs with you and other members of the Wedding Party.
  • How long it takes to put your clothing and accessories on

You should also allow time for having something to eat and just taking some time out.  Getting ready for your wedding can be stressful and it’s often made more so because you feel like you’re rushing. Leave some time to just breathe!

At the I Do Crew we prepare a detailed ‘getting ready’ timeline for our couples, the Wedding Party and all of the Vendors involved in this part of the day.  If you have family members getting ready with you, we also include them in this timeline.

2. Not considering travel times

Something that an experienced Wedding Planner knows is that everything takes a little longer when a wedding is involved.  Even the walk from your cottage in the grounds of your Wedding Venue will take longer than it did when you did it the day before at your Rehearsal.  The Bus transporting your guests will travel at a slower pace than you did in your car when you timed the route, and they probably won’t be able to pull up on the doorstep of the venue like you did.  Your car ride from your hotel may only take 10 minutes but how long does it take everyone in the Wedding Party to travel down in the lift and get into the car in their wedding day attire?

To ensure our couples have enough travel time we add 20 minutes to each route we’re timing.  And when calculating travel times, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.  The length of time it takes you to travel from your hotel to the wedding venue on a Sunday afternoon may be quite different to what it is on a Saturday at midday when you’re getting married.

Wedding Coordinator

3. Not allowing enough time for Group/Family Photos

This portion of your Wedding Day can eat up far too much time causing you to run behind and feel incredibly rushed between the Ceremony and Reception.

Here’s some tips to help you stay on time during this portion of the day:

  1. Have a Shot List for Group/Family photos. 
  2. Elect someone who knows most if not everyone involved so they can wrangle guests into position. 
  3. Let your family know they will be needed for Photos following the Ceremony and where they need to be.  That way they understand that they can’t wander off to the Bar just yet.

If you follow the above tips your Photographer should be able to photograph each group within 3 minutes. 

4. Leaving too Little Time for Speeches

You and your guests will enjoy this part of your wedding so much more if everyone who is giving a speech keeps it under 5 minutes. In practice, some people go over, and others under – but even so, this rarely leads to speeches taking less time than you might have thought they would.  Speeches almost always take longer than our couples originally allowed for. 

There is also the Emcee to consider.  The change-over between speakers often gets extended because your Emcee tells their own anecdote as they introduce the next speaker.  This is why we always allow extra time for this part of your wedding.

My tip is to ask anyone giving a speech to prepare one of not more than 5 minutes. They should time themselves practicing it to ensure it doesn’t go on too long.  750 words is roughly 5 minutes.  If your Emcee would also like to say a few words, allow approx. 10 minutes for them to say what they would like to say and do the handovers between Speakers.

If Dad insists on a longer speech and you’re happy with him making one it’s ok! Just allow enough time for it in the schedule.

Wedding Day Coordinator

5. You don’t have someone managing the timeline on the day

I hate generalising but what I’m about to say is based on years of experience. Please forgive me for casting a wide net with the next statement. Most couples lose track of time on their wedding day; and it doesn’t matter how well they knew the schedule leading up to the day, or if it’s sitting right in front of them during the day. And guess what? That’s exactly as it should be. You shouldn’t be watching the time on your Wedding Day. You should be oblivious to time.

But you’ll miss out on all of the special moments of your day if someone isn’t watching the time. All of the moments you’ve spent hours, weeks, even months planning for are important to you so you want them to happen and you want to have enough time to enjoy them. A timeline, running sheet or schedule won’t ensure that happens. No, you need someone managing the timeline throughout the day. This could be a friend or family member (not in the Wedding Party) but Ideally it is someone like me – a professional who knows how to keep things running on time and has some tricks up their sleeve to get the day back on track if something unexpected happens (and something always does).

Need more Wedding Planning Tips? Here’s another Blog Post to enjoy.

6 Things a Wedding Coordinator can help you with